Customs sells P161.35M worth of smuggled rice
MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday reported that it generated P161.35 million from the sale of 109,500 sacks of allegedly smuggled rice last Tuesday.
In a statement, the BOC said it had bid out 4.675 million kilograms of imported white rice as well as 800,000 kilos of glutinous rice or known in the vernacular as “malagkit” via eight lots at the public auction held at the Port of Manila.
BOC auctioned off the white rice at an average price of P26 per kilogram; the glutinous rice, at P49 a kilo.
Of the 40 bidders that joined last Tuesday’s auction, seven firms presented the highest bids, namely: Sta. Rosa Farm Products (for two lots); and 1st Asia Agri Industrial Corp., Evergreen Cereal Inc., LOM Marketing, Marulau Trading, Universal Pacific Food Corp., as well as Veramar Rice Mill (one lot each).
“We are pleased with the results of the auction, which not only raised additional revenues for the [BOC] but also helped declog 245 container vans from the Port of Manila. We are committed to expediting the disposition of forfeited shipments in the coming months,” Mario Mendoza, acting district collector of the bureau’s Port of Manila unit, said.
Since these confiscated shipments are still the subject of pending cases, the auction’s proceeds shall be held in trust by the BOC.
The rice shipments had been confiscated from importers Bold Bidder Marketing and General Merchandise as well as Silent Royalty Marketing, the BOC said. These shipments, which entered the country between November and December last year, lacked import permits from the National Food Authority (NFA).
Three of the lots bid out on Tuesday were a portion of the rice seized from San Juan, Batangas-based Bold Bidder, which last week was slapped smuggling charges for allegedly illegally importing from Vietnam over 12.8 million kilograms of rice worth P513 million last year.
Meanwhile, the BOC’s Manila International Container Port collection district is scheduled to hold a public auction for 36,400 bags of white rice worth P47.028 million on October 17.
A public viewing as well as pre-bid conference will be conducted on October 16.
The BOC said next week’s auction would sell 70 container vans of white rice that had been brought in by Jade Bros. Farm and Livestock despite lacking import permits from the NFA.
The agency added that this particular shipment was supposedly included among the lots bid out last September 11, but it was withdrawn because of a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Court of Tax Appeals. The said TRO has already lapsed, according to the BOC.
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